Tiles - Fence The Clear

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited November 2022 in Year-1997


ALBUM: Fence The Clear
LABEL: Inside Out
YEAR: 1997
CD REISSUE: 2004, Inside Out Music, IOMCD 157


LINEUP: Paul Rarick - lead and backing vocals * Chris Herin - guitars, mandolin, keyboards * Jeff Whittle - bass * Mark Evans - drums, percussion * Kevin Chown - guest bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Patterns * 02 Beneath The Surface * 03 Cactus Valley * 04 Another's Hand * 05 The Wading Pool * 06 Gameshow * 07 Fallen Pieces * 08 Changing The Guard * 09 Gabby's Happy Song * 10 Checkerboards



Detroit band Tiles have been on the go since 1993, and we've had an opportunity to look at two of their albums so far.

As a prelude to writing up their latest 2016 CD 'Pretending To Run', I thought it might be a good idea to look at their second album from 1997: 'Fence The Clear'.

Now I don't want to sound like a broken record, because I have said it on the two occasions previously, but Tiles are heavily into Rush.

Musically that is, perhaps a drop of Queensryche in terms of lyrical intelligentsia, and Dream Theater vocally. All good reference points for sure, and a band that made 1997 kinda tolerable, as did many prog bands during this barren timefame.

The Songs

The Rush similarity is ever so immediate on the opening 'Patterns', with tight drum parts and Alex Lifeson styled guitar phrases.

'Beneath The Surface' demonstrates the ability of Tiles across a couple of styles. High vocals, thick guitar chords and driving percussion.

'Another Hand's is a musicians song for musicians. Very complex and technical, which is what this band is all about. 'Gameshow' is another free-form bit of genius.

There are two simplistic instrumentals, both are brief. 'Falling Pieces' is a Poly-synth piece, while 'Gabby's Happy Song' is an acoustic number.

The albums epic moment is the 14 minute 'Checkerboards'. Like most tracks this long, it has to be broken down into segments, and there at least three to be found. The first change-up is at the 7 minute mark, the second at the 10 minute mark.

In Summary

Much like Rush and Saga, the album covers from Tiles are really inventive and clever, FTC being no exception.

'Fence The Clear' received a 2004 Inside Out/SPV reissue with an additional four tracks, which made for great listening. Now, how about I get around to writing up 'Pretending To Run'?

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